Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Holles, William

HOLLES or HOLLIS, Sir WILLIAM (1471?–1542), lord mayor of London, was a son of William Holles, citizen and baker of London. He was admitted to the freedom of the Mercers' Company on 17 Sept. 1499, and became master of the company in 1538. He was elected sheriff of London in 1527, being chosen by the commonalty of the city, his colleague having been nominated by the lord mayor. On 31 March 1528 he was elected alderman of Aldgate ward, from which he was translated to Broad Street on 27 Aug. 1534. He was knighted by Henry VIII in 1533, and became lord mayor on St. Edward's day, 13 Oct. 1539. During his mayoralty he caused the moor ditch to be cleansed (Stow, Survey of London, 1598, p. 18). On 3 Jan. 1539–40 he received in great state Anne of Cleves, on her way through the city, before her marriage with Henry VIII (Baker, Chronicle, 1643, Henry VIII, p. 50). On 4 Feb. Holles and the aldermen accompanied the king and queen by water to Westminster (cf. Hall, Chronicle, 1809, p. 837). Holles was a wealthy merchant, and besides his house in Bishopsgate Street, somewhat west of Sir Thomas Gresham's dwelling, where he kept his mayoralty, and another in the parish of St. Mary-le-Bow, was possessed of several manors in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and other counties (Brit. Mus. Add. 6118, pp. 486–488, Inq. p. m.) He also was the owner of Clement's Inn in the Strand (Hatton, New View of London, 1708, p. 646). He died at his house in London on 13 Oct. 1542, and was buried in St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, where a monument formerly stood to his memory in the middle of the north aisle. By his will, dated 25 Dec. 1541, and proved in P. C. C. 18 Dec. 1542 (Spert, 14), he bequeathed 200l. to the mayor and aldermen of Coventry to make a new cross for that city, and other bequests to the Company of Mercers and the church of St. Helen's.

Holles married Elizabeth, daughter of John Scopeham, by whom he had three sons, Thomas, William, and Francis, and two daughters, Anna and Joanna. By his second son, William, he became the ancestor of the earls of Clare and the dukes of Newcastle. Lady Holles died on 13 March 1543, and was buried in St. Helen's. By her will she endowed six almshouses for that parish, leaving the care of their erection to her executor, Sir Andrew Judd.

[Cox's Annals of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, 1876, pp. 234–40, 249, 250 n.; Stow's Survey of London; Corporation Records; Orridge's Citizens of London and their Rulers.]

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